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California is ahead of the game as Obama releases Clean Power Plan
California is Out in Front as Obama releases Clean Power Plan
Climate legislation in California is clearing hurdle with deal on energy plans
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President Obama's plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants over the next 15 years will force states to address climate change by pushing them to act more like California.
The Clean Power Plan announced Monday poses significant challenges for states that rely on coal-fired power plants for much of their electricity, but complying with the rules will be a breeze for California. That's because the state has practically eliminated coal from its energy portfolio and leads the nation with the toughest regulations to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.
California officials said Monday that their existing climate change programs put the state on course to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new carbon-dioxide emissions target years ahead of schedule.
Gov. Jerry Brown welcomed the president's "bold and absolutely necessary carbon reduction plan."
If anything, the federal government's measures could accelerate the transition to solar, wind and other renewable energy sources that was spurred on by California's policies, experts said. And green business groups said the EPA's rules are likely to boost the California economy, which is at the forefront of developing technology for renewable energy and efficiency.
"This is going to expand the markets that California policies have worked to establish," said Mary Solecki, Western states advocate for Environmental Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit advocacy group of business leaders.
Nationwide, the new climate change regulations are expected to cut the electricity sector's greenhouse gas emissions 32% below 2005 levels by 2030, according to EPA estimates. The rules, issued under the federal Clean Air Act, give each state its own pollution reduction goal and allow each to choose the measures it will use to comply.
The new rules won't have much direct effect on California because they are less stringent than the carbon-cutting targets already on the books. State regulators have for years targeted carbon emissions with strict standards on vehicle emissions, energy efficiency, low-carbon fuels and renewable power.
Key to California's efforts is the cap-and-trade program to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories, transportation fuels and other major sources....
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